This is the 2016 NBA champion and winner of âDancing with the Starsâ Iman Shumpert to you.
The former Cleveland Cavaliers goaltender and the 2011 New York Knicks first-round pick made history when he and partner Daniella Karagach emerged victorious in the show’s 30th season.
While Shumpert is far from the first former professional athlete to be named the Mirror Ball champion, he is the first former NBA player to boast of the honor.
– NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) 22 November 2021
To be fair, he’s also the only one married to singer-songwriter, dancer and choreographer Teyana Taylor. While we can’t say for sure that Taylor played a role in preparing the 31-year-old for the competition, having her around certainly didn’t hurt.
It remains to be seen whether Shumpert’s success will inspire more NBA brothers to participate, but he knows who would be ready to succeed.
âKyrie Irving and Carmelo Anthony, they have good footwork. Guys with good footwork,â he explained in an interview with Page Six.
Now that Shump has officially joined Emmitt Smith, Laurie Hernandez, and Hines Ward as the champion of Mirror Ball, we look back at his electrifying dance journey that both warned the world and made us aware of our lack of coordination. :
On the way to the final …
Team DanIman, as Iman and Daniella were called on the show, wowed the judges in the semi-finals with their jazz routine on Kanye West’s âDark Fantasyâ (which includes the voice of Teyana Taylor). If you watch the video above, you will have pretty much no question as to why they got the high score of 38 out of 40.
In case the mouth-watering choreography and impeccable delivery weren’t enough reasons for fans to vote for Shumpert, the former Cavs player shouted out his ex-teammate LeBron James with the Los Angeles star’s “Silencer” celebration. Lakers.
The nod to King James was apparently enough for LeBron fans to pledge their loyalty to Iman in the finale. He sure needed all the help he could get to take on Amanda Kloots, Cody Rigsby and JoJo Siwa and his dedicated fan base, the Siwanatorz (Siwa has 11.1 million followers on Instagram alone).
Escape dance …
In each hero’s journey there is a moment, a turning point that propels the main character on the path to fulfilling his destiny. In Shump’s quest to capture the elusive Mirror Ball Trophy, we can all point our fingers at the âHorror Nightâ dance and say âthat was itâ.
The contemporary routine was inspired by Jordan Peele’s critically acclaimed 2019 horror film “Us” and was performed on “I Got 5 On It (Tethered Mix)”. The duo entered character by rocking red suits like the murderous doppelgÃ¤ngers, or ties, featured in the film and delivering the same facial expressions and haunting mannerisms as the villains.
Their attention to detail paid off, as the four judges awarded Shumpert and Karagach the maximum 10 points, giving the team their first perfect score (40) of the season. The judges were also very complimentary.
“You have transported us to another world,” said Judge Carrie Ann Inaba. “My mind was blown away, it was pure perfection.”
Judge Derek Hough agreed with Inaba and described the dance as a routine that “people will watch over and over again.”
And finally, Judge Bruno Tonioli echoed the sentiment, concluding: “It was your masterpiece performance.”
What the fans are saying …
The judges weren’t the only ones to be wowed by the duo’s performance on October 25. The routine went viral, sparking a reaction from fans of the series and NBA superstars.
Most notably, the guy from LeBron we were talking about earlier had thoughts:
Dude my G @imanshumpert in his f’n !!!!!! LFG. Don’t even try to stand up, just respect the conglomerate! https://t.co/8SzL2th79q
– LeBron James (@KingJames) October 26, 2021
Yes, that sums it up pretty well.
James’ support has not gone unnoticed by his former teammate. Seeing LeBron’s rave review, Shump was quick to take a subtle shot at the potential to join King James & Co. on the Lakers roster:
Once I get a real shot at this mirror ball … you’ll know where to find me … I’ll be at La again ð¤·ð¾ââï¸ð https://t.co/DMGqjYun8A
– Iman. (@imanshumpert) October 27, 2021
Hey, if JR Smith could get a ring in 2020, anything is possible.
The sleepiest routine …
As is the case with any great artist who has amassed a vast catalog of works, there are many different opinions about what is considered the best of Shumpert. Just as someone might roll for Adele’s banger “Rolling in the Deep” or the generational ballad “Hello”, others will swear that its heart-wrenching transparency on “Hold On” sets the new track in a league of its own.
That is, while the performance of “Horror Night” and the jazz routine of the semi-finals were the most critically acclaimed, this paso doble of “Queen Night” from November 1 to “Another One Bites the Dust “(32 of 40) is excellent in its own right.
Did we just compare Shumpert the dancer to Adele the singer-songwriter? Yes, yes we did. Go for it.
Shump has reach …
If there was any doubt about Team DanIman’s lineup, it was dispelled when they performed a redemption tango to Martynas’ âTelephoneâ (37 of 40) in the semi-finals. The same night they showed up with the “Dark Fantasy” jazz routine? Precisely.
We won’t claim to have extensive knowledge of ballroom dancing, but if we are to believe the experts – er, the folks in the comments section of the “Dancing with the Stars” YouTube page – the duo have been very successful. ‘a great connection despite their size difference, the choreography was exceptional and Iman’s posture has improved tremendously over the season.
The above praise was enough to bring the Mirror Ball back into the sports world despite a star-studded final.
As Shumpert explained on “The Real” last week, he “didn’t come on the show to lose.” But he had to bring his A-game to defeat the one he considered his biggest competition: Siwa.
âMy daughter could vote for her,â Shumpert said of the YouTube sensation, laughing.
Meanwhile, Taylor had a piece of advice on how her husband might emerge victorious on Monday: “Sell him.”
And sell it, he did. Shumpert and Karagach’s freestyle on âLose Controlâ and their cha-cha / foxtrot fusion dance on âSeptemberâ both scored perfect 40 of 40 in the final.